A swastika-like symbol found on a piano at Stanford University's Bing Concert Hall is under investigation by the Department of Public Safety as a hate crime, university officials said Wednesday.
A concert hall staff member found the "crudely drawn" symbol etched on the piano's lid while removing the instrument from a locked storage area in preparation for an upcoming show on Tuesday, according to a news release. The image, the size of a dinner plate, was inaccurately drawn but closely resembled a swastika.
It appears the symbol was etched with a fine instrument with the misspelled word "Natzis."
"Particularly in the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre just a few weeks ago, it's critical to state that this symbol of hatred has absolutely no place in the Stanford community," Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said in the news release. "We reject the ignorance and intolerance behind its appalling appearance on our campus."
Stanford Live, the producer of the university's performing arts, was " disheartened by this act of vandalism on one of our beloved pianos," the organization said in a statement Thursday.
"We will fully support the authorities during this investigation and when possible, the piano will be restored. Hatred has no place in the Stanford community," according to the statement.
Investigators suspect the vandalism occurred sometime after a concert on Nov. 18, when the piano was on the concert hall's main stage, an area accessible to visitors, university officials said. No suspects have been identified.
A swastika was found on campus in October 2017 at the Graduate School of Business and a swastika-like symbol drawn with a "tar-like or grease-like substance" was discovered outside a residence hall in September 2017. In the university's latest Safety, Security & Fire Report, there were 22 reports of hate crimes all involving swastikas painted on signs or surfaces on campus throughout last year, up from eight hate crimes in 2016.
Poorly drawn swastikas were also found at nine locations on campus and in Palo Alto in December 2016.
Anyone with information about the vandalism discovered Tuesday is asked to call the Department of Public Safety at 650-329-2413.